Why school attendance matters

Regular attendance at school is fundamental to student learning

Our goal is to ensure every student in Western Australia has the opportunity to gain an education and achieve their full potential. Attending school is a critical foundation for unlocking this opportunity.
We know that every day at school contributes to learning, which leads to better engagement and higher academic achievement. This sets students up for life and creates better social and economic outcomes for Western Australian families and communities.

While most students in Western Australian public schools attend regularly, there is a number who do not.

More than a century of research shows that students who do not attend school regularly tend to have lower rates of school achievement and are more likely to drop out of school early. Poor attendance patterns can start as early as Kindergarten, and are linked to long-term cycles of declining attendance, poor engagement and lower levels of student achievement.

For all students across all years, every day at school contributes to learning. There is no ‘safe’ threshold for non-attendance, but more significant effects are likely to occur when students are absent for substantial periods. It is also noted that students with higher rates of achievement are not immune to the potential impacts of absence. These students often experience larger drops in academic achievement through absence.

Education sets students up for life

Research also shows that lower rates of school attendance and disengagement from school can be linked to unemployment, lower income, riskier health behaviour and contact with justice authorities.

Not completing school can restrict a student’s future opportunities, including their ability to fully participate in social, civic and economic life. In almost every aspect, this is amplified for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

From Department of Education – Every day matters, 10-point plan to improve attendance

As outlined in the Department’s ‘Every day matters’ attendance improvement document, research shows that consistent student attendance plays a vital role in developing our children. Attendance habits formed in primary school have been shown to have an effect on both academic performance in future education and employment. We understand that in these current times, it can often be a challenging choice whether to keep children at home, with the recent and correct prominent message of “if your child is sick, please keep them home” due to frequent COVID-19 infections. We also acknowledge that families are now planning and undertaking more holidays due to the removal of COVID restrictions however, this is not supported by the Department during the school term.

Churchlands Primary School prides itself on supporting and encouraging all of our students to fulfil their absolute potential in all of their endeavours in life and to help achieve this, we set and support what we feel to be responsible attendance rate targets (95% Attendance). Providing Churchland’s students with daily quality teaching programs allows them to achieve success and be well-prepared for their next stages of learning and life. While we completely understand that students will be absent when genuinely not well or attending a significant cultural or family event, we want to encourage families to support children to come to school.

Post COVID-19 restrictions, CPS has seen a rise in the number of students across the school having attendance levels below 90%. While this number seems non-alarming, it equates to one day off school per fortnight, which would result in missing out on 20 days of school in the year if this rate continued. Obviously lower attendance percentages, which we are seeing in some students, equate to much more time away from quality learning. Students with attendance rates as low as 60% across the year result in that student almost missing two entire terms of learning in the year. While this sounds dramatic, we want to reiterate the message that every day counts, and it is important to take this fact into account when deciding whether your child comes to school each day.

To support our community with our attendance goal, please ensure that you consider each absence on its merit and keep the notion of forming good attendance habits in mind. When your child is sick please communicate with your child’s teacher or through the school’s attendance SMS number with an adequate reason. For children whose long-term attendance rates are below 85%, intervention support structures will be implemented in collaboration with parents.

If you require support to reengage your child in school, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s teacher for support.

Kind Regards

Luke Johnson

Deputy Principal